Gordon State College Confers 351 Degrees Friday


Shelley Nickel told the 351 graduates of the Gordon State College Class of 2014 Friday morning that they were now a part of history.

"My time here at Gordon was one of the best times of my life," said Nickel, the former interim president of Gordon and the current Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Implementation for the Board of Regents, University System of Georgia. "I am so proud of all the great things that are happening here and pleased that I can say that I am part of its history. Graduates, you are now part of its history. Later today you will be able to reflect on your time here and what it means to you and your future."

An estimated crowd of 2,500 family and friends looked on as the graduates followed administrators and faculty onto Lambdin Green led by piper Michael Grest.

Tyler Edwards, who was one of 50 students awarded a degree in nursing, spent a few moments with his parents Greg and Brenda, before the graduation ceremony began.

"We are so very proud of him," Greg Edwards said as Tyler scurried off. "He has really worked hard for this."

Edwards later joined fellow graduates of the nursing program in Alumni Memorial Hall for the annual pinning ceremony.

In addressing the graduates, Gordon State College President Max Burns noted that his mother - known as Nix - was a public health nurse in a rural Georgia county of 10,000 residents.
"To this day people from that era stop me and say how Nix saved their baby or treated their father or helped them get the treatment they needed," he said. "It's been 50 years and people still remember Nix. They will remember you as well."

At the same time, 38 graduates of the education program gathered in the Fine Arts auditorium for the bell and book ceremony. In the "little red school house tradition," the bell and the basic textbook given to each graduate symbolize "all that truly dedicated teachers need to go forth and serve the children entrusted to their care."

IMG_0289_COPY.jpg Shelley Nickel, center, with Gordon Alumni Camillo Caballero and new graduate Chris Childress